This is apparently one of Mairghread Scott’s SDCC panels, for tomorrow:
"Beyond Cliches: Creating Awesome Female Characters for Film, TV, Comics,…
Hahaha let’s all just laugh at this and basically go “this writer fucking sucks writing feminism and was racist” without actually saying the words
Ms Scott has a tumblr. Why don’t you heartless organisms go note her and ask her why she wrote the way she did or voice your opinions about her instead of sitting at your computer and make aggressive posts.
Because the one time I did try to ask Ms Scott some questions about her use of gender and her seeming inability to understand the difference between body and gender and Arcee’s problematic origin she was promising to ‘make better’, I got called ignorant by her husband and some ‘anon’ told me I was stupid because asexuality wasn’t ‘real’, according to them.
I have a degree in gender studies. But I was the ignorant one? Yeah, sorry, that pretty much killed my obligation to try to engage with her. And since you’re dehumanizing me by addressing me as an ‘organism’, I don’t owe you anything, either, honestly.
But I will tell you: I find her story to be not very female-positive at all. Just because a text features a female does not make it pro-female (let’s leave the political minefield of the term ‘feminism’ aside for a moment). I find Windblade’s characterization to be inconsistent—Issue 3 she wants to KILL EVERYONE and Chromia has to talk her down; one issue later she’s saying she is the only one who doesn’t want to kill anyone, and Chromia’s revealed as a murderer. That’s…really hard to reconcile as CHARACTER, male or female.
Scott deploys a number of cliches when writing Windblade, including torture, and a creepery Starscream, and above all reducing her to someone who is beyond naive—she was far more savvy in Dark Cybertron, where she was introduced, when—gasp—men were writing her. But the most distressing thing to me is Windblade’s utter lack of agency. She’s been pushed around and manipulated for 3.5 issues, a nd she finally has a moment to come into her own, to step forward and articulate her values and…she ‘can’t’. Strong characters, not just Strong Female Characters, don’t lack agency.
The fact that she is a ‘vessel’ for some larger male as I’ve discussed elsewhere, is also a cliche. Horror movies are filled with the idea that a female has a purpose and that’s being a conduit to the mystical/divine/demonic/other, and so her purpose is, actually, a cliche. Not even an inch beyond it. I like subversions of cliches, and I’d kept hoping we’d get them, but her utter abdication of agency in the climax pretty much shot that down.
If we talk about ‘feminism’ as representing a wide range of character types, we have the doe eyed too naive girl-devoted-to-serving-others who has a psychotic break and then apparently utterly forgets about it, and then Chromia, a closet terrorist who would murder people to try to manipulate her best friend rather than, uh, TALK to her? (which Windblade then utterly glosses over one textbox later). I am not saying ‘feminist’ texts have to write 100% entirely admirable—that’s an impossible task, given the wide range of women and women’s motivations out there. But I think we deserve a little better than that.
IF it’s supposed to be a ‘feminist’ story, which I would argue it’s not. If she is claiming it is, I would really be curious to hear her definition of feminism.
I also resent the way the series was shoved down my throat by IDW that I, as a female MUST LOVE Windblade, because not only! Is ! she! a girl! but it’s written! and drawn! by women! That’s insulting, and about as far from feminist as one can get. You’re a girl, have some, girl stuff. Like I haven’t been into Transformers since, you know, G1. That’s not Ms Scott’s doing, though, but all the fanboys who want to prove they’re Not All Men. Still, it did raise expectations, perhaps unfairly.
You can like Windblade. Like it all you want! Buy 80 million copies of it! I’m not telling you you can’t like it. I’m saying that in my opinion, which I have presented, unlike you, without profanity, I think that Ms Scott is perhaps not the best representative of ‘awesome female character’ writers. To be honest, I like Roberts’s take on her, and Nautica, much better, because he’s not writing FROM cliches, but from personality.
I didn’t mean to dehumanize you, but I’ve seen enough Otherkin getting offended that I didn’t wish to take that route and assume.
I’m sorry you were attacked by others, but Ms Scott’s husband is not her and I can only assume that the anon wasn’t her either. I’ve learned much about asexuality and gender from tumblr, and I can only assume that Ms Scott needs a long explanation about that.
But again, with so many hands in the comic, so many people editing, adding, taking away things, execs going “we won’t approve until this gets put in” I’m not going to put the blame all on her.
Thank you for taking the time to explain the problems you have with the comics to me instead of doing straight up insults, like what I saw of the first few responses to the beginning of the post.